Dak Prescott, as you know, took the NFL world by storm during his first season in Dallas. The reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year says that he is ready for year two and that “the game slows down the more you see it.”
As Prescott works during his second training camp in Southern California, he's identifying progress he's made in the last year and where he still needs to focus.
"It's definitely just reps," Prescott said. "I think what you're getting is the game slows down the more you see it. I've gotten more and more reps. I've taken way more reps now than I've taken in training camp last year obviously. So, it's been valuable to me in just recognizing what they're doing to get through things faster.
"I made checks last year but now I'm making them sooner and recognizing what the defense is doing a whole lot sooner, getting to those calls and those checks as soon as I see it."
Dak Prescott’s 24th birthday was on Saturday. His father attended Dak’s and the Cowboys’ practice over the weekend. Rob Phillips caught up with Nathaniel Prescott in Oxnard. The elder Prescott says that Dak “hasn’t changed; he’s still Dak”.
Needless to say, Nathaniel is proud of his son’s accomplishments on the field. He’s most proud of Dak’s character off the field.
“He hasn’t changed. He’s still Dak,” Nathaniel said. “I texted him last year before every game and my text simply said, ‘Be Dak.’ If I get Dak, then I know what I’ve got. And I simply got a response back that said, ‘Pops, I don’t know how to be anything else.’ I’m thankful to God that he’s stayed grounded.”
Nathaniel comes from a football background. He said he played outside linebacker and defensive end at Grambling until injuries to both his knees ended his football career.
While Dak’s relationship with his late mother is well-known throughout Mississippi State, the Dallas Cowboys, and the media, his relationship with his father isn’t. His dad made sure to set the record straight.
Both the story of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott being raised solely by his late mother Peggy and the narrative that this is another case of a disappearing African-American dad are false.
And this certainly is not a case of a father showing up only after the son makes it big.
The elder Prescott, who goes by “Nat,” has always been there for Dak.
“I have heard it all,” Nat Prescott said Saturday after surprising his son for his birthday dinner Friday night at the Cheesecake Factory. “There is nothing you can tell me. As a black father, we tend to take offense to it. I knew better. It wasn’t for me to convince the world. That is not my job. My child knew. That was the main concern.”
Dak met with the media to discuss topics ranging from his 24th birthday to how he would like to use Ezekiel Elliott in 2017 to his relationship with owner Jerry Jones.
On how best to use running back Ezekiel Elliott this season:
"Zeke can get more catches this year without him playing more plays," Prescott said. "His ability with the ball in his hands is valuable to this offense in the passing game, when the defense is giving us soft coverage. Get it to him and let him do what's best. We've given it to him a bunch out here already."
How is Zeke dealing the the swirling off-field controversies, with owner Jerry Jones saying Saturday that the NFL's investigative process is now set to reach a decision on if Elliott violated the league's personal conduct policy?
"Zeke's great," Prescott said. "The only thing he's worried about is being on this football field. He knows the rest will take care of itself. Nothing he can do now."
Speaking of Dak, what is your ‘aha moment’, or when you finally bought into Dak Prescott? BTB’s DannyPhantom writes about his thoughts on the new face of the Dallas Cowboys dating back to pre-draft to now:
When Prescott was lighting up the Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins in exhibition games, I was delirious, but in a good way. My jaw dropped as I had an epiphany. It was that moment that I discovered
the idea for the flux capacitor which makes time travel possiblethat the Cowboys might just be okay if something happened to Tony Romo. That’s a big revelation. After the disappointment from the season prior, it’s so gut-wrenching to accept that one injury can cause all your seasonal football hopes and dreams come crashing down.
Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had a marvelous 2016 season. Linehan helped groom rookie fourth-round pick Dak Prescott into the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and he designed plays to get running back Ezekiel Elliott into space. The good news for Cowboys fans is that Linehan believes he has the best offensive coordinator job in football. He also addresses how he plans on using Zeke this fall.
Linehan: I've had that question a few times this past year, and certainly that's the ultimate goal in coaching is to be a head coach. But, you know, 53 years old now ... and I think it's a real mistake not to embrace the job you have.
I have the best of 32 offensive coordinator jobs, in my opinion, at the Dallas Cowboys. So, focusing on that is really it, and do the best I can to be part of taking this team as far as we can take it would be really all I'm looking for in my profession right now.
Ever since Tony Romo decided to hang up his cleats to puruse a broadcasting career with CBS, many in the Cowboys fan base have been wondering who will be QB2 behind Dak this season. Will Kellen Moore be the guy? Or will the team bring in someone new? We got our answer this weekend, as Luke McCown signed a one-year deal with America’s Team.
McCowan had some high praise for Dak, even comparing him to Eagles legend Donovan McNabb:
Luke McCown says Dak is "special," reminds him of Donovan McNabb. pic.twitter.com/uKQfxRmKuA— David Helman (@HelmanDC) July 30, 2017
McCown also discussed why he chose the Cowboys.
“I was evaluating a couple of other options, knowing that this could be a possibility,” McCown said Saturday evening. “I was holding out hope – as an East Texas kid, I was holding out hope that something would go down here. Sure enough, it did.”
McCown says he is going to make sure to “help those guys along with the experience I have in various offenses”. That can’t hurt Dak’s development in different schemes.
“As the elder statesman in the room now, by a lot, I’m going to try to help those guys along with the experience I have in various offenses – pick up Coach Linehan’s stuff as quick as I can and try to perform,” he said.
What McCown said he isn’t going to do is resign himself to life at the back of the depth chart. The Cowboys seem content with the duo of Prescott and Moore as their top two quarterbacks, but McCown bristled at the suggestion that he’s with the team purely to be a “camp arm.”
“Golly, what an awful way to think of yourself, as just a camp arm – I mean, I have two legs, too,” he said. “No, of course not. I’m coming in with competition on my mind – to learn, to establish a rapport with the guys that I’m going to be around, with Dak, with Kellen, with Coop.”
Who will help protect Dak, McCown, and Moore? Bryan Broaddus takes a look at the battle to be the Dallas Cowboys’ starting left guard.
So far in training camp we’ve see Chaz Green and Jonathan Cooper switch off with the first unit. During Saturday’s practice, Green moved outside to left tackle with the second unit while Cooper continued with the snaps at guard.
Cooper has a veteran’s savvy to him and the experience for playing the position. Technique-wise, both are sound but Cooper is a little better at this point with his finish down after down. If Green can develop that trait, then in my opinion he would be the better player.
Cooper has yet to take any snaps at center like he did during the OTAs and minicamp but in pre-practice work, he works with the other centers and quarterbacks.
One of the bigger story lines and topics surrounding the Dallas Cowboys is the status, development, and healing of 2016 second-round selection Jaylon Smith. Smith, of course, suffered a horrific injury in the last game of his collegiate career. However, his sky-high ceiling and potential made him an intriguing pick for the Cowboys. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli believes the former Notre Dame star has a chance to be ready when the season begins.
What have you seen from Jaylon Smith so far in camp?
Marinelli: He's a great story. If we all could learn something from him about being positive in a negative situation - he's been unbelievable like that. I really admire that trait in him. It's every day, he just seems to grow. Every day. And that's what you're looking for. He's come in, he's hit, and he's done pretty well. So, it's day-to-day now.
Do you expect him to be ready for the beginning of the year?
Marinelli: Well, after what we've seen so far, you would think so. And then it'd just be a day-to-day deal as he gets better.
Think you know Jerry Jones? Think again. SportsDay lists ten things that some fans may not know about the man leading the most recognizable franchise in American football.
Like him making Stephen apply at Wendys:
1. He made his son apply to Wendy's
Stephen Jones played hero for the Dallas Cowboys when he persuaded his dad to take Zack Martin over Johnny Manziel. That franchise-saving moment might not have happened if he had learned a very important lesson from his father early on in his life.
Or losing $30,000 on a simple coin flip. Ouch...
3. He lost $300,000 on a coin flip
When Jones was buying the Cowboys from H.R. "Bum" Bright, the two had agreed on most terms, but couldn't settle a dispute on who was responsible for an advance Bright made three to four weeks before Jones' purchase of the team, so they agreed to flip a coin for it.
The flip went heads. Bright won. Jones had to pay. Later, once the deal was officially complete, Bright encased the coin, mounted it on a block and gave it to Jones with a message: "You will never know if this is a two-headed coin." The gift remains in Jones' home.
In the midst of the training camp grind, Jason Garrett decided to lighten the move and take the team to see newly released movie “Dunkirk”. As always, Sean Lee came prepared.
Sean Lee gave a typical Sean Lee response when asked if he knew much of the back story to the film.
“I read, studied the playbook, no question,” Lee joked. “The movie is great. You need a little context. It just starts off with people shooting, so I got a little context before that. ... I think after the movie, some of the guys checked it out and learned a little bit more about World War II.
So what was the football lesson from the movie?
“Kind of the ‘Dunkirk spirit,’” Lee said. “How sometimes you take a terrible loss but if you rally and find a way to stick together, you can come back and overcome incredible odds.”